PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday May 21, 2019 – Four members of a Grenadian family who were seeking to sue Barbados for what they said was restricting their freedom of movement when they were in the island almost three years ago, yesterday had their application dismissed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The Trinidad-based court dismissed the application for special leave that had been filed by Tamika Gilbert, Lynnel Gilbert, Royston Gilbert, and Glennor Gilbert, who had accused Barbados of violating their right to freedom of movement under Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
The mother, father and their two adult daughters visited Barbados for a day in October 2016 when they were arrested and detained for six and a half hours. While no charges were laid against them, Tamika and Lynnel claimed that they were subjected to degrading treatment by the police, and Tamika alleged that she was made to remove a portion of her written statement recounting the degrading treatment before the police would allow the family to leave.
The Gilberts claimed that Barbados had violated their right to move freely within Barbados and to depart Barbados without unnecessary harassment or impediment. Barbados denied their claim and opposed the grant of leave, arguing that the applicants had not fulfilled the requirements of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas needed to commence legal action.
In handing down its decision, the CCJ noted that the family was taken into police custody for the purpose of police investigations and that freedom of movement did not immunize CARICOM nationals from the operation of law enforcement agencies.
In addition, it said that the family would have had to set up an arguable case of discrimination based on nationality only, prohibited by Article 7 of the Revised Treaty, in order to be granted special leave to bring their claim against Barbados.
“They have failed to make out an arguable case that they were prejudiced in respect of the enjoyment of their right to free movement within the State of Barbados, and to depart Barbados without impediment. They have therefore not satisfied Article 222 (b) and so special leave cannot be granted,” the CCJ ruled.
After dismissing the application, the court said each party would bear its own costs.